Are We Setting Up Crew to Succeed … Or to Fail?


14 October 2017            

Last week, during the course ‘Implementing a Fatigue Risk Management System’, the JAA TO-qualified instructor Dr. Jackson tackled some of the very difficult issues faced by operators related to fatigue risk management systems. One of these challenges is to establish an effective fatigue reporting procedure: a mechanism through which the crew can communicate issues, concerns, or incidents related to fatigue. Many organisations struggle to fully engage the crew with their reporting process.


In the photo: Dr. Jackson, specialised in measuring and managing fatigue risk in extreme operating environments.

              Dr. Jackson explains that “sometimes, operators, unintentionally, put in place obstacles that prevent the crew from engaging with the fatigue reporting process”. The trainer alerts that some examples of accidental potential obstacles may include:

  • Using a fatigue model to decide whether a fatigue report is valid;
  • Deducting pay when the model says the fatigue report is invalid;
  • Interviewing the crew, when they report fatigue, in a way that feels more like an interrogation than a data collection exercise;
  • Putting pressure on the crew to operate even through fatigue;
  • Introducing unnecessarily, complicated, or punitive procedures that discourage the crew from reporting;
  • Storing reports and using them to decide on promotions, full-time contracts or base requests. 

             The trainer reinforces that, if we want the crew to follow new procedures, it is good to consider potential barriers that may prevent the crew from following these procedures. “Way too often, operators complain that the crew doesn’t do what they are told to, but the operator has set the crew up to fail, when making it difficult, or unattractive, to follow the procedure”, says Dr. Jackson.     

About the “Implementing a Fatigue Risk Management System” course

This course has been designed to be consistent with the EASA regulations as well as ICAO’s latest guidance material on Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS). The course covers both ORO.FTL.110 (managing fatigue under SMS) and ORO.FTL.120 (Fatigue Risk Management). In addition to providing a detailed explanation of the science of sleep, circadian rhythms and the impact of fatigue on individual and operational performance, the course includes a series of ‘how to’ sessions each focusing on a different aspect of FRMS requirements. There are no pre-requisites. 

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